IDF Chief of Staff: Women will serve in tanks

Starting in November 2020, women will train for combat roles on tanks, serve on Egyptian border.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi announced on Wednesday that female recruits can be drafted to combat roles in the Armored Corps.

The decision was made based on the recommendation of the Commander of the IDF’s Ground Forces, Gen. Yoel Strick, who approved continuing the integration of women within the Armored Corps, including combat roles.

Previously, women could serve in Armored Corps units as instructors, but not in combat positions such as tank drivers and gunners.

Starting with the November 2020 recruitment cycle, 60 women will be drafted to a pilot program that will train them for combat roles within the Armored Corps. The training will take place on Merkava 4 tanks.

After successfully completing training, they will serve on the Egyptian border, carrying out operational activities for the remainder of their army service.

The organization Torat Lechima (Martial Theory), which is opposed to the move, said in a statement:

“It is very unfortunate that Chief of Staff Kochavi surrendered to the radical women’s lobby. How can an experimental program take place in our current reality? Is it time to examine whether the Armored Corps is a suitable place for women, without lowering our combat readiness?

“This is a controversial public issue, and a serious decision is being made while the country is distracted by a global health crisis. Is this really such an urgent issue that Chief of Staff Kochavi has to make this decision now, when there are currently discussions about postponing future recruitment cycles because of the Coronavirus crisis?” the group said.

“The IDF should focus on helping the state manage the Coronavirus epidemic, rather than conducting social experiments.”

Proposals to draft women into the Armored Corps have been a source of controversy since an initial pilot program to create all-female tank crews was announced in November 2016.

Retired IDF Maj. Gen. Yiftach Ron-Tal said in an interview with Army Radio that left-wing groups were exploiting initiatives to integrate women into more combat roles in order to undermine the IDF’s combat readiness.

“I think that these interest groups are using this process  a seemingly democratic and very important step that creates more fighters in the IDF  to weaken the capabilities of our military,” he said. “The people leading this, sorry for the phrasing, are freaks.”